The killing of dreaded gangster Babu Gopal Reshim by his rivals, following an audacious raid on a police lock-up has left the law enforcers stunned. It has also attracted attention to the clout that Bombay’s underworld has come to wield over the years.
The attack on the police lock-up was audacious, straight out of a Punjab terrorist’s handbook. The location, however, was not some remote border jail but a Central police lock-up at a major street intersection in Bombay, a city where the police still retains some of its traditional authority.
At about 3.50 a.m. on March 5, eight armed men tumbled out of two taxis at the heavily-guarded Jacob Circle lock-up in central Bombay. Moments earlier, three other gang members had stationed themselves outside the broken compound wall of the three-storeyed mini-jail used by the police for remand prisoners. There were seven constables on guard duty but only two were actually acting as sentries. The head constable was missing, while the others were asleep.
The lock-up had its usual quota of petty criminals and drifters picked up by the Agripada police headed by Inspector Madhukar Zende, who achieved national fame last year as the man who nabbed Charles Sobhraj. But in cell number one on the ground floor, there was a very special prisoner – Babu Gopal Reshim, 36, a dreaded gang leader from central Bombay, who was comfortably ensconced behind bars, waiting to be charged in yet another attempted murder case.
In many ways, Reshim was typical of the ruthless men who control the city’s underworld. He had started life on the streets, working for 12 years as a hotel boy before he shifted to the sprawling workers’ canteen at Mazagon Docks. He was sacked from the canteen after he was involved in a brawl but, by then, he was already launched on a career of crime. “In the early 70s, Reshim, Arun Gowli and the gang leader, Ramakant Naik, were petty criminals haunting the Agripada police station area,” recalls a police officer: “But after years of extortion, robbery, and murder, they became dreaded underworld figures.”
For Reshim the turning point came with the prolonged textile strike called by militant trade unionist Dr Datta Samant in 1982-83. He was brought out of jail by the Congress(I)-affiliated Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh (RMMS) to head the goon squad deployed to break the strike. He was so successful in terrorising working class neighbourhoods that workers of one major mill, Khatau, eventually shifted their allegiance to him.
But Reshim was a professional, unburdened by political loyalties. About a year ago, when activists of the Samant-controlled Mazagon Dock Employees Union (MDEU) came under attack from Shiv Sena musclemen. Reshim went to their rescue. The reputation of his gang as street-lighters was so legendary that even the Shiv Sainiks had to beat a hasty retreat. In exchange for protecting Samant’s men. Reshim wanted control of the Mazagon Union, to which he understandably bore a sentimental attraction. It was only when he was spurned that Reshim turned to the rival Congress(I)-controlled Dockyard Labour Union (DLU). He was quickly given charge and methodically began a campaign to terrorise Samant’s union office-bearers into submission.
Both MDEU and DLU have a following among Mazagon Dock workers, but for some years now, it is the MDEU which is the recognised union. Reshim took on the task of muscling the DLU in as the recognised union. Samant’s activists and office-bearers were summoned by Reshim and asked to resign or face the consequences. When the threats did not work, retaliation was swift and brutal. The day after Reshim was lodged in the Jacob Circle lock-up, the attacks began.
Ajit Samant, unit secretary at Mazagon and a distant relative of the union leader, nearly lost his right arm when he was attacked with swords in spite of being accompanied by a police bodyguard. “In four days, four unionists were seriously injured, spreading terror in the clocks,” recalls Ajit Samant. Mazagon workers promptly went on a day’s strike in protest.
Barely three weeks later. Reshim was rudely woken up in his secure Jacob Circle lock-up as the invading gang hurled crude bombs packed with ball bearings, nails and half-inch screws, paralysing the police guard. The raiders first tried to gun him down from outside the dimly-lit lockup but when that failed, they broke the lock and stormed inside, attacking him with swords and 32 calibre handguns. While his two cellmates cowered in fear, Reshim yelled out: “Vijay, assa karu naka” (Vijay, don’t do this).
But the cell which in the past had provided a perfect alibi whenever Reshim organised major crimes, now became a deadly trap. As the assailants withdrew, the dreaded gang leader lay dead, while a constable injured seriously in the bomb blasts died in hospital later. A shocked state Government ordered the suspension of the head constable who was missing from his post, and instituted an enquiry into the incident.
The next day provided clear proof of how far Reshim had come from his early days as a hotel boy. About 8,000 people turned up for his funeral as his flower-bedecked body was taken in a truck through the labour areas by Congress(I) MLC Baburao Bhapse, former Shiv Sena mayor Chhagan Bhujbal, DLU leader Datta Pradhan and Mathadi Kamgar leader Baburao Ramisthe. Earlier, RMMS leaders had come to pay their last respects as Reshim’s body was placed outside his chawl in Byculla.
His funeral procession: a dramatic rise
Mazagon Docks and Khatau mills remained closed, while shops and restaurants downed shutters in several central Bombay areas. Both the Congress(I) and the Shiv Sena put up boards mourning the death of a “worker’s leader”. Clearly, when Reshim was gunned down, he was well on his way to becoming a powerful union leader. “If Reshim had succeeded in taking over the Mazagon Dock Union, he would have been the first underworld chieftain to emerge as an important union leader,” said a police officer.
Trade unions have always depended heavily on musclemen but Reshim symbolised a new and disturbing trend of gangsters realising the advantages of acquiring direct control of unions. In the ’70s, after the crack-down on smugglers, many kingpins like Yusuf Patel turned to construction, bringing their special skills to Bombay’s booming real estate industry. Patel even acknowledged how more money could be made faster in real estate than in smuggling.
Was Reshim a harbinger of a Mafia-style take-over of powerful trade unions in Bombay? Police maintain that though weapons are being used more and more to cow down workers, and gangsters are beginning to dominate some industrial estates with small workshops. Reshim was a unique example of a gangland boss acquiring major trade union ambitions.
He was encouraged mainly by the Congress(I), had reportedly joined the party and was seen prominently on the stage recently, when Union Minister Arjun Singh presided over an anti-communal workers rally. Bhapse maintains that in Reshim he saw a man who showed signs of wanting to reform. “He was transforming himself from Valia to Valmiki.” says the trade unionist and former communist. “His younger brother, uncle and cousin still work in the Mazagon Dock canteen and Reshim wanted to do something for the workers. He would have gone further than any trade union leader.”
Was he killed because of trade union rivalry? Or was he the latest victim in a continuing inter-gang vendetta which last saw the Sten gun slaying of Rahim Khan, brother of the notorious underworld figure Karim Lala? Or was he gunned down by his own hitman Vijay Hodkar, who had quarrelled with him over the sharing of spoils?
Police are convinced that the assailants were led by Hodkar who had also shot at Reshim, but missed, in a restaurant at Byculla recently. Whoever the killers, the audacious lock-up raid left the Bombay police stupefied and crestfallen. Said a seasoned Bombay police officer: “We are ashamed. It’s bad for us. But we feel frustrated also. No gang would have dared to attack if we had been better trained and equipped.”
Site of killing: audacious venture
Even as Bombay has expanded in rapid and chaotic fashion, producing well-organised underworld networks dealing in everything from gambling and prostitution to contract killing and gold smuggling, the police-population-crime ratio has actually declined over the years. In 1961 the city had 3.6 policemen per 1,000 population but by 1981, the police-population ratio had plummeted to 2.84.
In the last few years, the state Government has been responsive to police demands – in 1986 the Bombay police budget went up by Rs 9 crore to Rs 52.5 crore and the personnel strength was raised by 1,000, bringing the total to 25.083 constables and 4,417 officers. But the force is still considered inadequate for a population estimated to be more than 96 lakh. More importantly, it is very poorly-equipped. “It’s true that while in the last 15 years criminals have become better organised and better equipped, using even Sten guns, the police remain terribly short of resources. Why, in many police stations even the telephones don’t work.” says prominent criminal lawyer Dhun Canteenwala.
The city’s armed constabulary, which also guards police lock-ups, is 6,500 strong. But it is always short of ammunition and some time ago, firing practice was suspended completely for several years because of ammunition shortage. The armed police, with four headquarters, is headed by just one deputy commissioner though its strength is equivalent to six battallions, requiring at least six commandants. It has six assistant commissioners and 40 inspectors, a supervisory officer cadre considered just enough to look after the basic administration. “With great difficulty we organise a weekly parade,” said a police officer. “We are doing tightrope walking and working only on absolute priorities.”
A metropolis produces its own special problems and today the force needs a different orientation to meet the challenge from better organised and equipped gangs. “We must give up the old British idea of the police as a watch-and-ward force,” says a top police official.
Varadha: well past the peak
Reshim’s assassination and the subsequent reaction have shown just how powerful the city underworld has grown. It has also highlighted how poorly-equipped the city police is to deal with it.
Besides the ill-equipped force. Bombay’s underworld has also derived great benefits for many years from its nexus with politicians and corrupt police officers. The rise and fall of just one man, Muniswamy Varadharajan Mudaliar, dramatically illustrates the extraordinary dimensions of the close collaboration between gangsters, cops and opportunistic politicians (INDIA TODAY, May 15, 1985). Varadha was, according to the police, the only gangster to whom the loosely-used term, “underworld don” could be appropriately used.
But it took just one dedicated and incorruptible deputy commissioner of police (DCP), to check Varadha’s power and drive him out of Bombay, DCP Y.C. Pawar was fully backed by the then police commissioner Julio Ribeiro, the first police chief in recent years to go after organised crime in Bombay.
Today Varadha, who began life as a Tamil migrant in Bombay, working as a railway coolie and then as an illicit distillery worker, is reported to be hiding in Madras, protected by his political friends. He has been declared an absconder by the Bombay police and some of his property seized. Externment orders have been issued against most of his close lieu-tentants. His organisation has been crippled, though not fully destroyed.
Police also maintain that with the crackdown on organised crime initiated during Ribeiro’s time, it is no longer possible for a gangster to build up a position similar to Varadha’s. Some of the old, legendary names from Bombay’s underworld, like Haji Mastan and Yusuf Patel, are no longer directly associated with crime, Karim Lala, another dreaded figure, has turned 70 and has been hit badly by bloody inter-gang warfare in which his brother and nephew were killed.
The most wanted gang leader in Bombay today is Dawood Ibrahim, the son of a former police constable who gradually took over the old smuggling networks after Mastan and Patel withdrew. It was the killing of Ibrahim’s brother in 1981 which triggered off the inter-gang battle which still rages on. In fact, even the killing of Reshim, who was associated with Ibrahim’s gang, is rumoured to be linked to the bloody vendetta.
But Ibrahim has also been on the run, faced with the combined pressure from the Bombay police, the Customs and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). Though he is reported to have made secret visits to Bombay. Ibrahim now operates mainly from Dubai and London, where he is reportedly building a hotel.
After Varadha’s departure, the gang which was increasing its power and influence was the one led by Reshim, Ramakant Naik, and Arun Gowli. But Reshim was the only one who harboured ambitions of building up, Varadha-style, a larger organisation which would have included trade unions and legitimate political activity. If Varadha’s flight to Madras marked the passing of the don from Bombay. Reshim’s killing may have aborted a new phase in the growth of the city’s ruthless and ever-resourceful underworld.
Lock-up deaths: Act now to stop custodial deaths
Kothale’s arrest was itself part of an elaborate frame-up by a sub-inspector named Yuvraj Kamte, who had charge of the Sangli police station. The accused died in police custody, after which Kamte arranged to burn and dispose the body. He then claimed that the accused had fled from custody. Kamte and four other policemen have since been arrested and dismissed from service while the Superintendent of Police and the Deputy Superintendent, a lady, have been transferred.
The series of violations in the case mock our procedures. Whenever there is a death in police custody, the police officers concerned are duty-bound to bring it to the notice of senior officers expeditiously. After a postmortem by a competent government medical officer to ascertain the cause of death, the Superintendent of Police is required to send details to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) within 24 hours. The Maharashtra government has further mandated that every incident of custodial death be investigated by CID Crime, besides an inquest by the concerned sub-divisional magistrate.
In view of the perception that custodial deaths take place because of reckless incidents of arrest, amendments have been effected to the Criminal Procedure Code, stating that arrests be made only for offences that attract punishment of more than seven years in prison or in those offences where there is apprehension that the accused may commit similar offences or assist other accused to escape. As soon as the accused is arrested, he should be medically examined and necessary medical assistance should be provided. Information about the arrest should be communicated to his advocate and relatives/family members. Details of his arrest need to be conveyed to the police control room and displayed on the unit website. In addition, following directives from the Supreme Court, a State Police Complaints Authority has been formulated under the chairmanship of a retired high court judge to look into grievances in this regard. All complaints about custodial deaths are also looked into minutely by NHRC and SHRC.
Though all these directives are being emphasised and publicised, it is a matter of concern that these are not implemented at the ground level. Once one gets a job in the police department and wears the uniform, there is a misconception that it is a blanket approval to arrest anyone and obtain a confession by indulging in physical harassment. Several times, suspecting someone for petty theft or because of personal rivalry, complaints are registered by people of means, and this is followed by arrest and torture.
If the police officer does not do so, he is declared a good-for-nothing. Many a time, a police officer who indulges in beating a citizen in public and violates all norms is appreciated by people and he is considered a hero. Kamte was working as officer-in-charge of detecting crimes in Sangli police station for the last three years, and had reportedly detected several offences using high-handed tactics and was applauded by the public. This must have led him to believe he is beyond any law.
The NHRC and SHRC have clarified more than once that unless a person has gone to a police station to lodge a complaint, whether he is in the lockup or outside, he would be treated as under arrest and it is the responsibility of the officer in charge of the police station to take care of his health. The study of custodial deaths reveals that more than 65% are attributed to suicide, about 25% to mental shock and less than 5% to police harassment. These are official statistics and they tell us that we need a whole range of steps – from safety measures to psychological inputs and an array of methods and systems to keep a check on these violations and create a culture of fair and proper investigations.
Following observations by the Bombay High Court, almost all police stations and police lock-ups in Maharashtra have been provided with CCTV cameras. However, as noticed in the incident at Sangli, either these cameras are rendered dysfunctional. It is therefore imperative that these CCTV cameras along with the provision of audio recording are IP-based, with adequate internet-based support. The facility for monitoring these should be given to the CID for impartiality. All footage needs to be preserved.
Police officers and men should be exposed to scientific investigation techniques frequently. They need to be trained in the use of computers, digital technology, assessment of health conditions and brain mapping techniques at various levels. Often, police interrogation takes place in a side room or behind the police station. Instead, there should be well-equipped interrogation rooms in every police station and it should be mandatory to use only this interrogation room by trained police officers. As directed by the Supreme Court, officers doing investigation should be separate and not be used for routine duties. Investigation is an advanced science, and physical harassment to obtain confessions is illegal, archaic and needs to be discouraged at all levels.
The time is now ripe for the Indian government to consider ratifying the international treaty against torture and declare our commitment to human dignity.
(The writer is a former Director General of Police, Maharashtra)
(Sydicate: The Billion Press)
How Mumbai underworld became India’s most dreaded mafia
After a bloody decade in the ’90s, the fabric of the underworld changed. Following police crackdown, many gangsters in Mumbai entered the real estate market and came to understandings with each other over areas of operation. Gangsters of vintage Mumbai
INDIA Updated: Feb 23, 2014 14:23 IST
copyright Hindustan Times
In January this year, police officers monitoring a murder case stumbled upon a gangster’s phone conversation. He was sorting out a family dispute over a multi-crore property in the central suburbs.
His intervention would earn him a considerable amount of money, and ensure that he doesn’t have resort to extortion or bloodshed.
“If a gangster manages to solve a Rs100-crore dispute, he gets a minimum 10% of the property value. This way he does not need to indulge in petty crime,” said a police officer.
After a bloody decade in the ’90s, the fabric of the underworld changed. The ruthless and brash gangsters who had replaced the old dons and their ‘work ethics’, toned down their activities. Instead of contract killings and extortion, they got involved in the corporate sector, especially real estate.
The new generation of gangsters took over the reins in the 1990s from the likes of Karim Lala, Haji Mastan and Vardharajan Mudaliar, who had built their empires based on trust and mutual respect.
This marked an end of an era of the ‘sophisticated dons’, and the beginning of a ruthless and brash brand of gangsters who had to be cut to size with equal ruthlessness.
If the Pathan gang was blood thirsty, they met their match in Dawood Ibrahim, son of a constable. The first blow was struck by the Pathans when Samad Khan killed Dawood’s brother Shabir.
But Dawood had the last laugh. He planned out strikes against Samad and Amirzada and killed them. Alamzeb was killed in a police encounter in Gujarat.
This was the start of the change in the underworld. It was also the beginning of corporate underworld, where people would keep guns in their drawer and earn money through investments, said crime branch officials.
Dawood, unlike other gangsters, ensured that his men were carefully chosen. A trait his aide-turned-arch rival Chhota Rajan inherited. “The men they chose in the ’80s and ’90s showed unflinching loyalty, and were willing to die for them. Especially because these gangsters took care of their men and families,” said a crime branch officer.
But the bloodbath on the streets of Mumbai in the 1990s with gangs wresting for control, the rivalry between Dawood and Rajan, saw the Mumbai police unleash the encounter squad.
One by one the sharpshooters were chased down and killed. The police’s crackdown saw the gangsters call for peace, and even divide their area of operation.
This, however, didn’t put an end to them targeting the rich and famous. In 1997, producer Gulshan Kumar was killed. Later in 1998, six Sena workers were killed in mafia attacks, and two attempts were made on the life of Mumbai’s former mayor Milind Vaidya in 1998 and 1999.
From 1995, the incidents of gang-related violence rose four-fold by 1998. This made the state enact the stringent MCOCA, which helped the police decimate the underworld’s control to a large extent.
The crackdown saw the gangs spill over to Thane and Navi Mumbai, and also to the districts of Pune and Nashik. Also, it forced gangsters to get into agreements to keep their activities alive.
A large part of the plot was given out with the arrest of gangster Santosh Shetty in 2011. He had bared Dawood’s plot to cut Chhota Rajan to size.
Police now believes there would have been an understanding between Dawood and Ashwin Naik to control the realms of Arun Gawli, who has been in prison since 2008. “In the underworld, there are no permanent friends or enemies. They work on the belief that an enemy’s enemy is a friend,” said a senior police officer, monitoring the underworld.
Except for the strained Dawood–Chhota Rajan relationship, today the underworld thrives on such understandings. There are hardly any killings and the extortion rates have gone down, the police said. “Gangsters know that gunrunning and extortion will not help them sustain. They have trained their guns on the real estate market,” said an officer.
‘Encounter is an extension of Bhindi Baazar Inc’ IANS | 19 April 2014 2:26 AM | 3
Actor Prashant Narayanan says the experience of shooting for a power-packed episode of crime-based TV show Encounter was as thrilling as working in his 2011 film Bhindi Baazaar Inc.. The episode featuring Prashant and Mishal Raheja will narrate the encounter of Shamsher Bhopali, an underworld sharp shooter widely known as the Killing Machine. Talking about his experience on portraying the character of Shamsher, Prashant said: ‘Shamsher was a dreaded gangster popularly known as the Killing Machine primarily because of his exceptional shooting skills.
Rise of the ’83 ‘encounter’ batch
With Mumbai’s crime scene changing dramatically in the mid-1980s and especially after the ’93 blasts, the Mumbai police came to rely on encounters as an effective way of curbing crime. Leading these operations were officers of the 1983 batch.
MUMBAI Updated: May 24, 2012 00:53 IST
Underworld gangs in Mumbai acquired sophisticated firearms in the early 1980s, forcing the police to respond to their shootouts in public places and their extortion activities and threats by staging encounters.
In the 1970s, the activities of these gangs had revolved around smuggling and the distribution and sale of illicit liquor. As these activities grew, so did the need for providing ‘protection’ to smuggled goods during transit.
Initially, those who provided protection carried Rampuris (knives), daggers or swords. In the early ’80s, they were given firearms. Soon, the ‘boys’ who helped Karim Lala’s Pathan gang to transport consignments of gold, silver, textiles, imported watches etc – among them Ayub Lala, Alamzeb, Saeed Batla, Jaffar Siddiqui and Mehmood Kalya – got into a conflict with Dawood Ibrahim and his brother Shabbir, who would transport goods for Haji Mastan.
The chief reason for this conflict was the smuggling of a new item: heroin. “Dawood had taken to smuggling drugs despite Haji Mastan’s opposition to it, and Ayub Lala of the Pathan gang had disregarded Karim Lala’s disapproval of the narcotics trade,” a former crime branch officer who did not wish to be named said.
The gang war
The first victim of their rivalry, late in 1981, was a journalist with an Urdu daily, Iqbal Natiq. Suspecting that Natiq, acting at the behest of Dawood, had tipped off the police about carrom clubs clandestinely run by Saeed Batla, a key member of the Pathan gang, Karim Lala’s men kidnapped him from a spot near JJ Hospital, tortured him and killed him.
Dawood retaliated by maiming Saeed Batla and Ayub Lala, among the top members of the Pathan gang. Karim Lala’s nephew Alamzeb and Amirzada then took control of the gang and in 1982 shot Dawood’s brother Shabbir dead at a petrol pump in Prabhadevi, just a week after his marriage.
The gang war soon spilled on the city’s streets, with Dawood avenging his brother’s killing. Alamzeb was killed by Dawood’s men in the Sessions court premises; and Amirzada was killed in a police encounter in Gujarat (there were allegations that Dawood had tipped off the police).
The 1983 batch
Julio Ribeiro, who took over as Mumbai police commissioner in 1982, advocated a tough policy against gangland, and Manya Surve became the first gangster to be shot in a police encounter in 1983. Young police officers such as Issac Bagwan (who shot Surve), Suresh Walli Shetty, Raja Tambhat, Rajan Katdhare, Emmanuel Amolik, Rajan Talpade and Keshav Sahasrabuddhe rigorously implemented Ribeiro’s strategy, and after a few more, rather sporadic, encounters, gangster Rama Naik was shot dead in a high-profile encounter in 1984 (see ‘Some of the big encounters’).
The encounter policy was not only not questioned at the time, it was warmly welcomed as a necessary step in breaking the back of the underworld.
A new crop of police officers recruited in 1983 were witness to these developments. This ’83 batch, comprising officers such as Vijay Salaskar, Pradeep Sharma, Praful Bhosle, Ravindra Angre and Vinayak Saude, was to rise to prominence in the mid- and late 1990s. Most of them were to become known as “encounter specialists.”
“Their posting in the Bombay police force coincided with the unofficial encounter policy. Naturally, they followed in their seniors’ footsteps,” said veteran journalist S Balakrishnan.
However, Shankar Kamble, former assistant commissioner of police, crime branch, said the batch rose to prominence because it comprised some of the best detection officers. The added advantage, he said, was that these officers were trained at the Police Training School, Nashik, by former director-general of police Arvind Inamdar, “who was known not only for his regimen but also for being a teacher par excellence.”
Besides, officers such as Salaskar, Sharma, Bhosle and Angre got early postings in sensitive branches and police stations, which helped them develop informer networks and made them good at collating intelligence. That they were ahead of others in operational excellence or intelligence-gathering was the result of this experience, sources said.
Before 1993 and after
This batch also saw the transformation that occurred in Mumbai in the mid- and late 1980s with the growth of construction activities, the resultant expansion in gangland activities such as extortion and the intensifying of inter-gang rivalry (see ‘Dawood versus Gawli’).
The transformation made the Mumbai police initiate a crackdown on the underworld in the early 90s.
The first major encounter in the 1990s, the decade which saw the maximum number of encounters, led to the death of Mahindra Dolas alias Maya Dolas, a trusted Dawood aide. The then additional commissioner of police (west region), AA Khan, ambushed a flat in Lokhandwala Complex in Andheri in which Dolas and his four associates were holed up and shot all of them.
But it was after the 1993 serial blasts that the encounter policy really took off.
ACP Kamble said, “After the blasts, the underworld, which earlier operated clandestinely, became overt in its activities.” Acts of extortion became rampant, as did contract killings. After Chhota Rajan split with Dawood and formed his own gang, the problem became more acute.
“The police response earlier used to be selective and isolated. But the 1993 blasts and rise in extortions/gang wars hastened a calibrated response,” said former top cop M N Singh.
Given the go-ahead, encounter specialists spread across various crime branch units across the city. While a particular unit went after the Dawood-Shakeel gang, another went after Arun Gawli and yet another after a third gang. Some of the juniors of the 1983 batch — Hemant Desai, Sachin Waze, Sanjiv Gawde, Ashok Borkar, Daya Nayak, Nitin Alaknure, Praful Phadke, and Mayakar — teamed up with the seniors to form formidable squads that went about targeting gangland members in Mumbai.
By the time the new millennium dawned, the crime branch had eliminated around 500 gangsters, and by 2004-05, most of Mumbai’s underworld had been wiped out.
I love playing a gangster: Prashant Narayanan
Encounter of the ‘Killing Machine’
TNN | Apr 17, 2014, 12.00 AM IST
The upcoming episode of Encounter will feature actors Prashant Narayanan and Mishal Raheja. While Prashant will play dreaded gangster Shamsher Bhopali, Mishal will be seen as Nitin Kamte, a cop. The episode will narrate the encounter of Shamsher, an underworld sharp shooter widely known as the ‘Killing Machine’. It is said that he used to plot his killings with a deck of cards.
Prashant says, “My experience of shooting for the show has been a great revival of the famous Hindi thriller, Bhindi Baazaar Inc. The episode has come out well and I am sure audiences will love it too.”
Mishal adds, “It was great working with Prashant and Mazher Sayed. They come from cinema and are more experienced than me. During the shoot, I tried to learn as much as I can from them. The show gave each one of us an opportunity to not only explore, but also challenge ourselves with something new.”
The episode will also feature Avantika Hundal, Megha Gupta and Vikramjeet Virk.
Manoj Bajpai turns anchor for new gangster series, ‘Encounter’
The witch-hunt for the gangsters is on, and Sony’s airing it live in their new series, called Encounter.
It’s the ’80s and Shankya’s reign of terror is frustrating Mumbai police. He walks boldly, with sleeves rolled up, a vermillion tikka on his forehead, his hair pulled back, putting the fear of the new “Bombay ka Baap” in everyone. Around the same time, “killing machine” Shamsher Bhopali goes on a shooting spree while Mangya unleashes his wrath on the city. Dreaded dons of Mumbai, they are on every cop’s radar. The witch-hunt for the gangsters is on, and Sony’s airing it live in their new series, called Encounter.
Anchored by actor Manoj Bajpai, known for essaying memorable on-screen gangsters like Bhiku Mahatra from Satya, the show, unfortunately, is gangster stories-on-steroids. Angry young men who brandish country-made pistols like toys, wave them in your face, cops who walk around like they are part of Dabangg Part Three, an underworld underbelly that is more constipated and clichéd than crackling or alarming — Encounter fails to rumble or rouse the right cause and effect. While the bhais with their fake wigs and moustaches, bell bottoms and dog collars spew “bheja fry” dialogues, the cops flex their muscles. The show offers nothing that we’ve not seen or heard of.
These are feared men who’ve already been brought alive on the silver screen by brilliant actors such as Bajpai, Ajay Devgn, Viviek Oberoi, Randeep Hooda and Emraan Hashmi, among others. These crime files have been spectacularly narrated by filmmakers such as Ram Gopal Varma, Milan Luthria, Apoorva Lakhia, Shimit Amin and Anurag Kashyap, making the show’s tales look pale in comparison.
Instead of lending it a docu-drama feel, the show comes across as snatches of cinema from the ’80s and ’90s. It’s slow, exaggerated and feels bloated with boredom. It’s also an overdose of “Bombay bhaigiri”, something that we feel holds little weight in the current global environment where terrorism and violence has reached a whole new level. For instance, a re-enactment of recent terror attacks across the country would’ve made for more gripping programming.
There is also vacuum in terms of depth, darkness and ugliness of this encounter. This, in a time when the audiences have already got a taste of excellent productions such as the desi avataar of 24 by Anil Kapoor and Abhinay Deo. Also, television programmers seem to underestimate the value of silence. Masterpieces such as Sehar, Satya and Ab Tak Chhappan were perfect references. It’s time to watch and learn from the masters now
5 Mumbai encounter-specialists you must know about
Here are the five “encounter-specialists” of the Mumbai Police about whom you must know:
INDIA Updated: Jul 03, 2015
copyright Hindustan Times
Maharashtra police officer Daya Nayak, who has at least 83 encounters under his belt, is once again in trouble after he was suspended for failing to report for duty in Nagpur where he had been transferred nearly a year ago.
Police sources have told HT that Nayak, a 1995-batch police officer, fears for his as well as his family’s life in Nagpur.
Nayak’s suspension has put the focus back on the troubled lives of Mumbai Police’s encounter-specialists – once lionised in gangster films as anti-mafia heroes, but now increasing finding themselves on the other side of the law – with criminal cases piled up against most of them.
Here are the five “encounter-specialists” of the Mumbai Police about whom you must know:
Encounters: 83, including that of Chhota Rajan’s gang members
A disproportionate assets case was filed against Nayak in January 2003. He was investigated by the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court for links with the underworld but was given clean chit after several inquiries in 2004.
In 2006, Nayak was arrested by the anti-corruption bureau after a sessions court issued a non-bailable warrant against him for amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. After his arrest and interrogation, the list of properties that Nayak allegedly owned came to light. It included, among others, a swank penthouse in Yug Dharma apartments in Mumbai’s Malad. He was suspended as well.
The Supreme Court quashed all the charges against him under the MCOCA in 2010 and he was reinstated only in 2012 at the additional commissioner of police (West) control room.
Nana Patekar and Rana Daggubati portrayed him in Ab Tak Chhappan and Department respectively.
Encounters: More than 100, including top crime bosses and three LeT suspects
File photo of Pradeep Sharma. (HT Photo)
Sharma’s name had cropped in the 2003 custodial death of bomb blast accused Khwaja Yunus, was accused of a nexus with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, for allegedly grabbing land in Malad and the November 2006 alleged fake encounter of former gangster Ram Narain Gupta alias Lakhan Bhaiyya, a suspected aide of gangster Chhota Rajan.
In January 2010, Sharma was arrested along with 21 others for their involvement in the encounter of Lakhan Bhaiyya. A Mumbai court acquitted Sharma of all the charges in the case in July 2013.
Sanjay Dutt played Sharma in Ram Gopal Varma’s film Department.
Encounters: 75–80 criminals including key members of the Arun Gawli gang
Salaskar was killed in action during the 2008 Mumbai attacks. He was 50. He was honoured with the Ashoka Chakra in 2009.
Before his death, Salaskar was head of the anti-extortion cell of Mumbai Police.
After the encounter in 2004 when Salaskar killed two of gangster Gawli’s aides, allegations had surfaced that the killings were fake.
In 2008, it was reported that Salaskar had unearthed the connections between the gutka industry and top businessmen, following which the rifle issued to him was withdrawn. Some news reports claimed that had the rifle been there with him, Salaskar would have survived the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Encounters: 63, including key members of Chotta Rajan and Dawood Ibrahim’s gangs
Waze joined Maharashtra police in 1990 and resigned in November 2007. Media reports suggest that Waze also had special skills in tackling cyber crimes. He, reportedly, carried modern gadgets and gizmos.
A case of the custodial death of software engineer Khwaja Yunus was filed against him in December 2002. It was reported that Waze allegedly punched Yunus in the stomach and poured a bucket of cold water on him, which led to his death.
Encounters: 52, including famous underworld don Suresh Machekar and members of gangster Amar Naik’s gang
In 2008, Thane-based builder, Ganesh Wagh filed a complaint of threatening, extortion and robbery against Angre, following which the officer was arrested and suspended. He spent months in prison and was released in May 2009.
In 2010, Angre was again arrested on charges of attempt to murder Wagh’s brother Mahesh. The cop was granted conditional bail after spending 49 days in jail. Angre was acquitted by a sessions court for lack of circumstantial evidence or eyewitness in 2011.
He was later reinstated into the force and transferred to Gadchiroli. Angre refused to accept his transfer, following which he was dismissed from service in June 2014.
Angre, who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party earlier this year, is now being considered as the man to take on Shiv Sena and the NCP in the Thane Municipal elections to be held in 2017.
Crime has never had it so good on TV
The moralising crime shows on our channels do a good job of exposing society’s underbelly.
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/it_newspick_chunk.jspI used to be hooked to serial killer flicks on HBO until I discovered crime shows on Indian television. The reason why I like these movies is because I like to feel unnerved and terrorised. The shadow of lurking evil, another murder round the bend, the sword hanging over the unsuspecting victim- I’m a sucker for this stuff. Dracula, vampire movies, ghosts- they never worked for me, simply because they’re not real. I was never scared enough by the special effects and eerie music.
The crime shows on our channels are different. They are based on real events, drawn from newspaper clippings and police files. These murders and rapes actually took place, often in settings we are familiar with, and this simple fact makes these shows more believable, and, well, scarier than any serial killer fiction.
Crime Patrol on Sony is the best of the lot. In its fourth season now, Patrol is hosted by Anoop Soni, an alumnus of the National School of Drama. It’s hugely popular, playing every day of the week. They do special episodes with no ad breaks, and back- to- back marathons, which are bound to leave the most hardened and cynical viewer riddled with paranoia and fear.
There is obsession and jealousy, murder and rape, dowry deaths and property disputes, fraud and forgery, domestic violence and kidnappings.
This sordid drama is played out, night after night, in middle class homes in our cities: Gurgaon, Ahmedabad, Nagpur. The screen cities are real. The perpetrators and victims could be our neighbours.
What keeps one rivetted, even when things get tacky, is the this- really happened factor.
Crime Patrol works because of its slick camera work, excellent casting and acting, and taut editing. The show has a pool of actors it returns to episode after episode, giving the viewer a sense of continuity and familiarity. And they shoot on location, which means if the producers are dramatising a murder in Chandigarh, they actually take us to Chandigarh.
Soni, who threads the narrative together, doesn’t do it sitting in the studio. He talks to us, walking the streets of the neighbourhood where the crime happened.
Another ingredient that works in favour of Crime Patrol is that they dramatise recent events, like the Baby Falak case, or the college girl who was mysteriously shot dead by an unknown assassin on a foot overbridge in Delhi. These are headlines still fresh in our memory; this gives the show an urgency and contemporaneousness unparalleled in Indian television.
Crime Patrol doesn’t shy away from unsolved cases. There are times an episode has an unresolved ending because, at present, this is where the investigation rests in the police files.
This is not to say that Crime Patrol doesn’t have its share of cliches. It takes us for a journey to Planet Fear but there are plenty of spots where the crust is weak. The police, especially the top bosses, are cartoon characters at best. Their only contribution to problem solving is to shout ” I want action” at their underlings.
And, it seems, the only way police extract information from criminals is by beating them up. Sometimes they beat up and intimidate the wrong people. The show seems to be saying that this is okay.
There is a copycat serial on a new channel, the oddly – named Life OK. Called Savdhan India, it mines similar stories but with little success. Too much melodrama, bad acting, shoddy camerawork and an unconvincing soap – star as the host, mar the show that aspires to challenge the TRP supremacy of Crime Patrol. It copies the format of Patrol down to a T, leaving the viewer with a sense of deja vu. Television is about loyalty.
One is left with the feeling that Savdhan is capitalising on the success of an original, and doing so badly. This is enough to turn the viewer off.
Yet a third crime show is on Channel [V]. Gumrah, now in its second season, treads familiar territory, though the emphasis here is on real life stories of teen crime. These are young educated urban Indians, mostly English- speaking, who are drawn into a self- destructive vortex of hate and criminality. The show was so successful on its debut that it now runs every night on weeknights.
The preppy Karan Kundra, who’s good, except that he seems to have aged prematurely, hosts Gumrah. Here’s a twenty-something man, speaking primarily to a school and college-going audience, who sounds like he’s eighty-something. If in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Paa the protagonists suffered from progeria, in Gumrah, Kundra suffers from a mental version of this rare condition. He looks not a jot more than twenty- five, but when he speaks, he sounds so pained by what today’s generation is doing that he could be your granddad. Cementing the impression are his sharp outtakes of breath, which punctuate the show with irritating regularity: ” Phew (eyes look pained, forehead develops creases), why are you people like this? Think about your parents. What have our youngsters come to?”
Still, for all the moralising (more on this in a bit), these shows work because they serve an important function, which goes beyond fulfilling our voyeuristic instincts. They draw attention to the monster croc lurking under the waters of Lake Placid . They bring to the surface what would have otherwise sunk right down to the bottom:
the world of middle class crime, committed by people like us – the hidden horrors of a society committed to stifling itself. It is here that you meet the jealous schoolgirl who kills her own sister, an obsessive call centre employee who rapes and kills a co- worker, an old lady who kills her best friend for a bag of jewellery, a disgraced constable who plots his wife’s murder.
What jars is the moralising. In the eighties, we had the family drama, Hum Log , with a goggled Ashok Kumar delivering a sermon at the end of each episode. That was a time when Indian audiences were not considered mature enough to handle entertainment.
We were impressionable idiots who needed a guiding hand, or else we might take it all too literally. Thirty years later, little has changed. In fact, it’s become worse. Back then it was Doordarshan, owned by the nanny state, which took on this preacherguru role. Nowadays, it’s the private channels that do so. Back then, the moral came at the end of the episode, like a moral at the end of an Aesop fable; nowadays, the guiding hand runs through the show, right from the first scene. In the sixties and seventies, Hindi cinema took on the burden of social responsibility, plying us with messages of communal amity and selfsufficiency. Television is doing so now.
Obviously, we like being preached to; we adore the moralising touch. Aamir Khan has created an empire out of it, both through his movies and Satyamev Jayate. Chetan Bhagat’s novels too come with a neat message. We like to be told what’s right and what’s wrong. We dislike moral ambiguity. Without a firm hand, we could slip back into our base natures in the blink of a television ad.
Clearly, we like the message in the bottle, as long as the bottle is full of milk, and comes with a rubber nipple.
The rise and the fall of encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma
TNN | Sep 1, 2008, 07:15 IST
MUMBAI: Dismissed encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma, who came from a humble background, is a wealthy man today.
Sharma hails from a small village in Maharashtra’s Dhulia, where his father Rameshwar Sharma worked as a school principal. Sharma, who did his graduation, moved to the city and wrote the MPSC exams to join the Mumbai police as a sub-inspector.
Sharma’s first assignment was at the Mahim police station. After two years, he was transferred to the special branch, then in Juhu. In 1991, Sharma came in contact with professor Arun Singh of Jhunjhunwala College in Ghatkopar, who had links with the drug mafia and was the brother of former Chhota Rajan gangster O P Singh.
Sources said Arun Singh was shot dead by the Ashwin Naik gang. Soon, O P Singh, who was Sharma’s informant, took over his brother’s drug business.
Singh grew close to the Rajan gang in 1992, when underworld activities were at their peak. In 1996, he was transferred to Chandan chowky (also known as “extortion chowky”), which was under the jurisdiction of then DCP Satyapal Singh. It was here that Sharma and his team, including sub-inspector Daya Nayak, allegedly kidnapped scrap dealer Tariq Nabi and extorted Rs 2 lakh from him. Both Sharma and Nayak were accused in the case.
The killing of O P Singh changed the equations. Sharma allegedly shifted his loyalty to Dawood aide Chhota Shakeel through the latter’s brother-in-law, Arife Aboobakar.
Sharma made a mark when he was posted as senior inspector in the Crime Intelligence Unit, Andheri. He shot to fame when he killed dreaded gangster Vinod Matkar. Later, he eliminated several prominent gangsters, including Vinod Matkar, Parvez Siddiqui, Rafiq Dabbawala, Sadik Kalia and three LeT men. He claims that in his 25 years of service, he has gunned down 112 criminals in so-called encounters. “He managed to extract information from hardened criminals, where even his colleagues failed,” an officer said.
In 2004, when Sharma took charge of the Kandivli unit of the crime branch, there were several allegations about his settling extortion threats received by businessmen and using threats to resolve land disputes. Soon, then police commissioner M N Singh disbanded Sharma’s cell.
The real trouble started when his name cropped up during the investigation of the custodial death of Khwaja Yunus. The CID filed a report that he should be transferred out of the city as he was hampering the probe. “There was evidence to show that on the day Yunus’s body was disposed of, Sharma called up his seniors and subordinates to discuss the issue. We failed to nail him because we could not prove that the mobile used by Sharma was in his name,” an officer from the CID said.
Sharma was shifted to Amravati on a CID report. But he went on leave on medical grounds. In 2006, he was posted at the DN Nagar police station, where allegations of Sharma helping the real estate mafia in land-grabbing cases cropped up. He was transferred to the control room in 2007. Ex-IPS officer Y P Singh said, “It’s a correct order. When it’s reasonably well-known that a person has clandestine links with the underworld, it’s not practical to conduct an inquiry.” Sharma is the sixth officer to be dismissed in the last five years. The other policemen included Aslam Momin, who was dismissed for his alleged nexus with Chhota Shakeel. Milan Koyal (crime branch) was axed on similar grounds.
THE START OF THE FALL
Whispers about his deals started growing. By 2004, when Sharma had taken over the charge of the crime branch’s Kandivli unit, the charges had grown to be embarrassing; colleagues and superiors said he had a finger in every pie-collecting extortion amount from businessmen on behalf of gangs, settling land deals and intervening in land-grab cases.
Sharma made his mark when he was posted as an inspector with the Crime Intelligence Unit in Andheri. He shot dead prominent gangsters such as Vinod Matkar, Parvez Siddiqui, Rafiq Dabbawala, Sadik Kalia and three LeT men.
BIO-DATA OF A SHARPSHOOTER
Pradeep Sharma comes from a family that hails from Agra, Uttar Pradesh. His father has been the principal of a Hindi-medium school in Dhulia in Maharashtra.
JOINING THE FORCE
Sharma joined the police force as sub-inspector in 1983. The 1983 batch is (in)famous as it has given the Mumbai police force most of its “encounter specialists” ; they include Praful Bhosale, Shivaji Kolekar, Vinayak Savde, Vijay Salaskar, Ravindra Angre, the late Raju Pillai, Ashok Borkar and Aslam Momin. IPS officer Arvind Inamdar, reputed to be a no-nonsense official who resigned a year before his retirement, used to teach this batch at the Nashik Police Academy.
Sharma’s first assignment was at the Mahim police station. He was transferred to the special branch (SB) after a couple of years and then to Juhu. He joined the Ghatkopar police station later where he came in contact with Arun Singh, a teacher at Jhunjhunwala College who allegedly had links with the drug mafia.
BLOOD AND GORE
Arun Singh was shot dead by the Ashwin Naik gang over a dispute in 1991. Arun’s younger brother, O P Singh, replaced him and worked as Sharma’s informer.
LINK-UP WITH CHHOTA RAJAN
Singh’s proximity to the Chhota Rajan gang started increasing around 1992, the period when underworld activities were at their peak. It was then that Sharma allegedly came in contact with the Rajan gang and never looked back.
O P Singh was killed and this changed the equations in gangland. Sharma shifted his loyalties to Dawood aide Chhota Shakeel; the latter’s brother-in-law, Arif Bhaijan, played a key role.
THE GHOST OF KHWAJA YUNUS
The real trouble started when Sharma’s name cropped up in the investigations into Khwaja Yunus’s custodial death in 2003. The CID filed a report that he should be transferred out of the city as he was hampering the probe. He was shunted to Amravati but reported sick and never went.
THE LAST NAIL
The land-grab case in DN Nagar, in which Sharma was accused of helping builder Alpesh Ajmera grab a plot, which belonged to Heena Kalbaug, was the latest charge. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Ramdas Kadam, and senior BJP politician Gopinath Munde alleged in the House that Sharma had amassed a fortune of Rs 5,000 crore.
‘Underworld may gun for Pradeep Sharma now’
S Balakrishnan| TNN | Sep 1, 2008, 07.14 AM IST
MUMBAI: The biggest concern for inspector Pradeep Sharma could well be his own security. “He is likely to be targeted by the underworld, especially the Chhota Rajan gang,” a senior IPS officer told TOI on Sunday.
As a dismissed police officer, Sharma is not entitled to police protection and has to fend for himself. Even while in service, Sharma had engaged private guards apart from a posse of armed policemen. Maybe the killing of Delhi’s encounter specialist, Rajbir Singh, was still fresh in his mind.
The biggest threat to Sharma could come from the Chhota Rajan gang, which had his name high on its “hit list���. (Watch)
Rajan had told TOI in the past that Sharma was once close to him and had even carried out a few jobs at his behest.
It is learnt that Rajan has given reams of information to security agencies about the nature of his ties with Sharma. Subsequently, Sharma is alleged to have grown closer to the Chhota Shakeel faction of the Dawood Ibrahim gang.
What angered Rajan was the arrest of his wife a few years ago for alleged extortion. The gangster alleged that his wife was arrested at the instance of Sharma, who was trying to get even with him. Rajan vowed revenge on those responsible for the arrest.
Sources said he kept in touch with gangsters strictly for professional reasons, which was to gather intelligence.
Sharma’s summary dismissal is the outcome of a protracted inquiry instituted by the Intelligence Bureau over two years ago. The IB, which was keeping track of the Dawood gang and its links with terror outfits such as LeT, had recorded the conversations of Shakeel. Its sleuths were stunned when they found that Shakeel was in touch with Sharma.
He is a rich man. What is the problem? As you sow, so shall you reap.
A detailed dossier on Sharma was then prepared by the IB. This included his alleged proximity to the underworld, recordings of his conversations and details of his properties and investments. The crime branch, under additional commissioner Deven Bharti, conducted its own investigation and came out with voluminous information on the high-profile officer. This proved to be the proverbial last nail.
Sharma’s biggest patron is currently holding a senior position in the police establishment and, till Saturday, this officer tried to stymie action against the inspector. From 3 pm on Saturday, the crime branch was trying to serve the sack order on Sharma, but he was tipped off about this move by his patron. It was only after midnight that the order could be served on him.
When home minister R R Patil ordered an inquiry into the charges of disproportionate assets levelled against Sharma by Shiv Sena leader Ramdas Kadam, attempts were made to stall it. Patil gave the inquiry to additional commissioner Sadanand Date, but efforts were made to derail this move as well.
Sharma removed in public interest: Roy
Prafulla Marpakwar| TNN | Sep 1, 2008, 07.13 AM IST
MUMBAI: “When it was confirmed that Pradeep Sharma was associated with underworld elements, I invoked provisions of Article 311 to dismiss him from service in public interest,” A N Roy, Maharashtra director-general of police, told TOI on Sunday.
During his tenure as Mumbai police chief, Roy had dismissed more than half-a-dozen officials for the dubious roles they played. But Sharma is an especially big catch as neither any commissioner nor any DGP had taken action against him.
“It’s an ongoing exercise to cleanse the department. My action is based purely on merit and on information and documents placed before (us). As I was satisfied that Sharma had underworld links, I passed a speaking order and dismissed him from service,” Roy said.
The DGP said that under Article 311, the competent authority had the power to dismiss an erring official in the larger public interest. If the authority is satisfied that the official can be dismissed, then he has the power to take such action without conducting a departmental probe.
An official dismissed under Article 311 can approach the administrative tribunal. “In case he does so, we too will present our case,” Roy said.
WHAT IS ARTICLE 311?
Article 311 of the Constitution deals with the dismissal, removal or reduction in rank of those employed in civil capacities under the Union or a state.
The article states that no officer can be dismissed/removed by an authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed. This means that the order for removal can be passed only by the President for central services officers and the Governor for state services officers like inspector Pradeep Sharma.
The article also says that an officer cannot be dismissed except after an inquiry in which he has been informed of the charges against him and given a reasonable opportunity to defend himself. However, this safeguard is not available to the officer in cases where it is held that it will not be practical to hold such an inquiry or that holding it may be against the security interests of the state.
Land-grab cases sealed Pradeep Sharma’s fate
TNN | Sep 1, 2008, 07.12 AM IST
MUMBAI: In February, inspector Pradeep Sharma realised that his days were as good as over in the force when the crime branch accused him of not initiating action in a case of land-grabbing.
In its remand application filed in court seeking custody of an accused, the crime branch said Sharma had failed to take action on a complaint lodged by a businesswoman, Heena Kalbaug.
There was a dispute over a property in Andheri between builder Alpesh Ajmera and Heena. She alleged that after paying the promised price to Ajmera, he forcefully took possession of a 2,000-sq-ft area. After the DN Nagar police, with whom Sharma was posted, refused to take cognisance, she went to the crime branch.
According to some of his friends whom he then spoke to, Sharma was worried and believed that two senior officers were targeting him. Sharma was already facing the heat as he was questioned in another case of land-grabbing in Malad a month ago. Sharma even claimed that the crime branch gave him a clean chit.
Builder Iqbal Attarwala and Ram Narayan Bacchi Singh told the police that they took forceful possession of a 2,305-sq-m plot in Malad with the help of Sharma. Attarwala and Singh were close to Chhota Shakeel, the police claimed. Ranchodbhai Patel, owner of the plot, alleged that his complaint with the Malad police was not acted upon at the instance of Sharma.
Patel moved the high court, which directed the crime branch to probe the case. “Sharma feared arrest and looked shattered,” a friend said. Besides, some of the suspects in these cases told Sharma that the crime branch wanted to know only about his assets and accounts and not the land transactions.
“There was ample evidence against Sharma in the Malad land-grab case, but it was becoming difficult to make headway as other witnesses were not ready to give Sharma’s name due to fear,” said an officer.
Andhra cops kill dacoit in Rajasthan shootout
U Sudhakar Reddy| TNN | Oct 27, 2017
According to Kurnool district superintendent of police Gopinath Jetti, a team of Kurnool police are in Rajasthan to nab a dacoit.
“He has been identified as Bheem Singh,” said Jetti.
AP DGP Sambasiva Rao said,”One died in exchange of fire. He was involved in Rs 5.5 crore offence.”